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Course & Subject Guides
Modern/Contemporary Artists' Materials & Processes
Conservation of Modern Oil Paintings by
Artists' oil paints have become increasingly complex and diverse in the 20th Century, applied by artists in a variety of ways. This has led to a number of issues that pose increasing difficulties to conservators and collection keepers.
Through our library system, students and faculty have access to many Art and Architecture Databases. The following databases would be the most helpful when doing research on materials and processes in modern and contemporary art:
The scope of ARTbibliographies Modern extends from artists and movements beginning with Impressionism in the late 19th century, up to the most recent works and trends in the late 20th century. A particular emphasis is placed upon adding new and lesser-known artists and on the coverage of foreign-language literature.
Art Full Text
Art Full Text is a bibliographic database that indexes and abstracts articles from periodicals published throughout the world. In addition to articles, Art Full Text indexes reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals.
- Always use the advanced search option.
- Use various combinations of keywords and phrases to find specific information, such as the name of the artist or art movement AND a specific process or material. Example: "Cubism" AND "Oil Painting", or "Constructivism" AND "Sculpture"
- Include specific names of materials in your searches.
- Search for specific art movements to learn more about the materials and processes used by artists aligned with that movement.
Books on Materials and Making
The Aesthetics of Matter : Modernism, the Avant-Garde and Material Exchange by
It has often been argued that the arrival of the early-20th-century avant-gardes and modernisms coincided with an in-depth exploration of the materiality of art and writing. The European historical avant-gardes and modernisms excelled in their attempts to establish the specificity of media and art forms as well as in experimenting with the hybridity of the materials of their multiple disciplines. This third volume of the series European Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies sheds light on the full range and import of this aspect in avant-garde and modernist aesthetics across all art forms and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Hiding Making - Showing Creation by
Examining the complex relationship between process, product, artistic identity, and the artist's studio-in all its various manifestations-the contributors to this volume consider the dichotomy between conceptual and material aspects of art production. The various essays also explore the studio as a form of inspiration, meaning, function, and medium, from the nineteenth century up to the present.
Online Exhibitions on Materials & Processes
Light, Paper, Process; Reinventing Photography
This exhibition includes an overview of experimental practices during the twentieth century, drawn from the Getty Museum’s collection. The works on view in Light, Paper, Process provide a glimpse into the continued interrogation and reinvention of the medium of photography by artists working today.
Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design
This exhibition took place in 1995 at the MOMA, with an accompanying exhibition site made the same year! The exhibition highlights the evolution in the design of materials that have revolutionized the culture of design—and material culture at large—from 1985-1995.
Videos on Process
Watching videos about different processes is also a great way to do research on processes. Here are a couple of places you can start:
Art21 is a PBS documentary series that interviews artists about their work and artistic processes.
Searching for specific artistic processes or artists that may specialize in that process is a great way to begin research and see how things are done.